Monday Mornings with Madison

To Meet or not to Meet, that is the Question

Word Count: 1,340
Estimated Read Time: 5 1/2 min.

Even the most useful and productive meetings consume too much time and accomplish too little.  And the truth is that most meetings are often wasteful, disorganized, and unfocused.  Unresolved issues from meetings often languish.  And when meetings are used for decision-making, work is often postponed awaiting a time when everyone can meet.  Hence the question:  meet or don’t meet?   The answer is a simple one.  If the meeting is just to deliver information – a one-way information dump – don’t meet!  Put the info in a concise, clear memo and send it to everyone to read. Continue reading

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How Companies deal with “Bad Employees”

Word Count: 1,233
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

When Employees Don’t Work Out

Even the best companies have some ‘bad hires’ from time to time.  That doesn’t mean the person is bad… just not a good fit for the company or job.  Employee weaknesses – and every person has some — usually surface within weeks or months after being hired.   Sometimes a new hire simply cannot do essential parts of the job for which he was hired.  Or is too slow in their work speed.  Sometimes a new hire has a bad attitude and cannot get along with others.  Or a short time after being hired, the employee starts getting to work late and taking a lot of time off.  Or perhaps a long-term employee gets moved to a position that is beyond her ability.  Or maybe the company recruits a reputed superstar only to learn that the luminary’s reputation shines brighter than what he can actually do.  It doesn’t take long for the bad employee’s supervisor to know the employee is not performing adequately.  And yet, the person is not let go.  Why?  There are a multitude of reasons why a bad employee might still be on the job.  Some are legitimate considerations and others not.   Here are a few of the most common. Continue reading

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Penny Wise and Pound Foolish in Business

Word Count: 1,551
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

The Search for Spending Balance

Most companies – not including big tech companies like Google, Apple and Netflix — watch their expenses carefully to ensure that they aren’t leaking profits, like a boat with a hole.   After all, business owners should always be looking for ways to maximize revenue while minimizing expenses to ensure the business makes a profit.  That is obvious.  But, deciding how much money a company spends on a myriad of expenses is often an exercise similar to walking a tightrope.  A company that spends freely and lavishly can result in a culture of excess that leads to employee waste and carelessness, while a company that is excessively vigilant and tight with the purse strings can create a culture that is demoralized and discouraged, and ultimately unwilling to go the extra mile or contribute big ideas.  The goal, then, should be to spend adequately… enough to keep morale and motivation high while keeping turnover and frivolousness low.   That is great, in theory, but what does that look like in practice?  How money is allocated is a proxy or indicator for what the leadership values.   It sends a message.  The only question then is what message a company wants to send to its people through money.  There are various options, from one end of the generosity spectrum to the other. Continue reading

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Building a Team with Depth and Backup Support

Word Count: 1,461
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

The Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors went head to head in the National Basketball League’s Championship Finals this month.  To hear those two names in the Finals shocked just about everyone.  On the one hand, the Warriors were very familiar with Championships since they were in the Finals the last four out of five consecutive years and won.  For good reason.  They have some of the all-time best players in the NBA including Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson.  It’s a team that really favors promoting from within and home-grown talent.  And, the organization fosters an extremely close-knit team culture where the hardest workers are invariably the best players.  This approach allowed them to develop a nearly unstoppable team.  Nearly. Continue reading

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The Biggest Driving Force is a Hunger to Succeed

Word Count: 1,593
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

What is hunger?  Meriam-Webster Dictionary calls it a strong desire or craving; an uneasy sensation occasioned by the lack of food.  When it comes to food, every person knows firsthand what hunger feels like.  In a way, it is like an itch that needs scratching.  You know it when you feel it.

In the case of hunger for success, that is a deeper kind of need not just to survive but to thrive.  And, it functions like a type of rocket fuel for human drive and determination.  Hunger is the “je ne sais quoi” trait – a quality that cannot be adequately described – that propels a person to never quit… to persevere against daunting odds.  Hunger allows a person to dig deeper within themselves even when tired or discouraged.  It helps the person to keep going in the face of adversity and challenges.  Hunger for success isn’t always driven by poverty or scarcity.  It often comes from a more fundamental need to prove one’s worth and value.   And that kind of hunger can make a person achieve what might otherwise seem impossible. Continue reading

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Best Advice for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business

Word Count: 1,718
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

By most accounts, the economy is doing well.  Unemployment and inflation are low.  And, the new tax laws are definitely ‘pro business’.  Indeed, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) now allows many
owners of small proprietorships, trusts and S corporations to deduct 20% of their qualified business income.  That tax plan also features an abundance of new deductions, tax credits and tools for entrepreneurs to use to reduce their tax burden. Continue reading

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Stay in Your Lane, Part 2

Word Count: 1,299
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Management by committee is often ineffective.   And, empowering a person to evaluate work who is not knowledgeable about the work product is not just pointless, but can actually be damaging.  At best, it can come across as overstepping bounds to specialists who did the work.  At worst, it can come across as disrespectful, dismissive and threatening.  This can cause deep rifts in professional relationships and is an underlying cause of employee turnover. Continue reading

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Stay in Your Lane, Part 1

Word Count: 1,444
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

In the recent running of the Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security — the horse that crossed the finish line first and was initially proclaimed the winner — was disqualified 23 minutes later by the judges.  The second-place finisher, Country House, then became the winner.  The disqualification was a result of something Maximum Security did.  It was an action that was visible on the video footage of the race and was not disputed by anyone including the jockey riding Maximum Security.  Midway during the second turn of the track, Maximum Security jumped out several paths and dangerously impeded the progress of multiple other horses.  That is viewed as a foul in the sport in any race, on any track, any day of the year, and, it is grounds for disqualification.  That it happened to the horse who was favored to win the prestigious Kentucky Derby and cost him a $3 Million prize was tragic.  It was also the right call, despite all of the opinions to the contrary. Continue reading

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Making the Most of LinkedIn – Part 2

Word Count: 1,657
Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2 min.

Avoid the Common Mistakes Made on LinkedIn

If sharing and contributing is key to getting the most out of LinkedIn, it is also the trickiest thing to navigate.  Here are some things you may want to avoid as you spend more time building a network and nurturing those connections. Continue reading

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Making the Most of LinkedIn – Part 1

Word Count: 1,451
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Leveraging LinkedIn to Supercharge your Career

Launched in 2003 and acquired by Microsoft in 2016, LinkedIn has grown into one of the premier professional social media websites in the world.  Of its current roughly 610 million users in over 200 countries, about a quarter of LinkedIn users — 146 million – are located in the U.S.[1] Keep in mind that of the 326 million people in the U.S., about 157 million are employed.  So one could deduce that most working people are on LinkedIn.  And for those wondering how many of those 610 million are “regular users”, note that LinkedIn has 260 million “monthly unique active users”.[2] That’s about 44%.  There’s no way to know how many of the active users are in the U.S. vs. the rest of the world, but one could speculate that the percentage of U.S. users is likely somewhat higher than those in other countries.  That means that probably at least half of all U.S. workers on active on LinkedIn every month.  That is a HUGE potential network. Continue reading

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